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The Takeover of Casual Gaming

This entry was created by a student in Stanford's Rhetoric of Gaming class. For more about the class and the assignment, click here.

Casual games are video games that are meant to appeal to all types of people, whether these people are familiar with video games or not. These games do not require any prior knowledge of gaming and are intended to be played by all types of people not mater what gender, age, or ethnicity.

Most casual gamers do not even consider themselves to be gamers even though they can be caught playing video games every once in a while. Someone can be considered a casual gamer even if they just occasionally play solitaire on their computer or play guitar hero with their friends on the weekend. I will be addressing the increasing popularity of casual gaming over more hardcore gaming due to things such as lack of time and the fact that casual gaming has become more socially acceptable whereas regular gaming is still more looked down upon.

I am going to use the text A Casual Revolution by Jesper Juul to aid in my argument because it has many points about casual gaming’s existence and the fact that it is on the rise. The book has some key examples of new and modern ways casual gamers can achieve their moderate game play such as through the Nintendo Wii and games such as Rock Band or Guitar Hero. “New games were not asking players to readjust their busy schedules” (Juul 1). This book also supports my stance that hardcore gaming it too time consuming for some fans of gaming. Casual gaming allows these fans to enjoy their gaming time while still being able to have lives outside of the virtual world. “[Players] did not have to spend hours to get anywhere in a game” (Juul). Games have been getting more and more complicated as well as time consuming making them less appealing to gamers with other things to do with their lives. Casual games are slowly changing this trend because not everyone has endless time to spend playing video games.


The rise of casual gaming certainly is a fascinating topic, especially considering the recent inventions of the Wii and the iPhone, both of which seemed aimed at casual gaming as opposed to hardcore gaming. I understand that your argument is going to center around how and why casual gaming is taking over the virtual world. However, another idea that might be interesting to extend your central argument is where will gaming go from here? Do people see an eventual backlash against casual gaming, and re-emergence of hardcore gaming? Or is gaming going to continue to become more and more casual for the forseeable future.

Very interesting topic. Casual gaming has definitely seen a large growth in recent years with the development of the Wii and non-typical games like Guitar Hero and Dance Dance Revolution. I agree with Cory in asking where will gaming go from here? A lot of hardcore gamers don't enjoy the Wii, yet it is the most successful of the three current generation systems. Will this trend continue or is it just a fad? Will game developers have to readjust to appeal to the greater market that is the casual gamer?

Hi Alec,

I read that book last quarter for PWR too, but I focused more on gaming peripherals and how they affect the success of games.

Your casual gaming topic does sound quite interesting, and it was something that I thought of when I was reading the book too. However you might want to look carefully into the causes of the success of casual games compared to "hardcore" games. Are casual games becoming more popular because they are actually converting gamers over from "hardcore" gaming, or is it just bringing games to a larger population that would not have played "hardcore" games because of their time constraints? Is the increasing popularity of casual games even decreasing the success of hardcore games? When I did a survey for my paper last quarter, a lot of people (college students) who considered themselves as hardcore gamers still preferred to play games which would be considered "hardcore". Although some of them do play casual games, a number of them still continue playing hardcore games, and most of the people I surveyed listed some hardcore games as their favourites. You might also want to clearly define what a casual game and a hardcore game is.

As for the point on regular gaming being looked down upon, you might want to think of how you are going to assess that. I personally think that regular or "hardcore" games aren't looked down on, since we have events such as WCG where players compete in hardcore games like CS.

My personal take on this topic would probably be that casual games are just a new and emerging form of gaming that would not replace hardcore gaming, but would only further spread the gaming culture by allowing more people easier access to gaming.

Also, I just thought it would be interesting to look at casual gaming on Facebook. There are a lot of games on Facebook such as Bejeweled Blitz and Mousehunt that seem to be very popular. They seem like casual games to me, but some of my friends play them like hardcore gamers...some of my friends also spend a lot more time playing Guitar Hero (more of a casual game) than I do playing FFXII (a hardcore game).

Hope some of these comments would be helpful for your research...good luck on those papers!

The defining of what a hardcore and a casual game is is interesting - consider my own self: I'm a longtime hardcore gamer, but with less and less time to spend on my hobby, I find that my iPhone is taking a larger part of my gaming time nowadays. It's ideal for gaming when I have little else to do, such as on train or plane rides. So I'd have moved towards casual gaming in one way, since I mostly game in idle time, and not set time off for it. On the other hand, what I play on the iPhone is sometimes at least semi-hardcore - Civilization Revolution, The Settlers etc. For the uninitiated, these are fairly advanced strategy games with long timespans.

So is this casual gaming, or simply accessible gaming?

I am quite interesting in this topic hope you will elaborate more on it in future posts.

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